By Kelly Bridgewater
May was a very hard month for my family. On the last day of April, my auntie went into the hospital. She was to stay for a few days. Nothing really to worry about, but as we came to find out, it was a big deal. On Friday, May 1st, my mother called to tell me that my ninety-six-year-old grandfather had passed away a couple of hours ago. I joked with my auntie that she wasn’t allowed to go to the hospital no more.
For the next week, my family and I had to attend a visitation and funeral for my grandfather. It was hard, but I survived. On the day of my grandfather’s funeral, Auntie was dismissed from the hospital, so my family decided to have someone stay with auntie while she lived in her home. I was there every day from 8 am to 2 pm. I watched over her. Made sure she took her pills and her breathing treatment, fed her, and cleaned up around her house.
Being busy with my auntie kept me from thinking about my grandfather. After a week of watching her, our family received the horrible news that she had an aggressive small cell lung cancer. If she kept smoking, she would be dead before the fourth of July. But we all wanted her around for a long time. Plus, the doctor had a good track record for curing this type of cancer. So Auntie decided to start chemo.
She had her first three days of chemo before my family took the Memorial Weekend to visit family in Huntsville, Alabama. When we returned, I took my boys to school while my husband went to work. I headed to take care of Auntie where my father-in-law greeted me at the door, explaining how worst Auntie had gotten over the weekend. I gave her her pills and cleaned up. Around 11, she had a hard time breathing, and I had to push her around in the living room in a chair. She couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. We rushed her to the emergency room.
The next morning on May 27, 2015, my mother-in-law called saying that auntie was leaving us. I shook so badly with tears running down my face. I’m surprised I made it to the hospital without hitting anyone. She died within minutes before I arrived.
Auntie died two weeks after finding out she had lung cancer. She was VERY close to our family. Like another grandmother who we loved very much. It still hurts our family.
But through all this trying time, I have learned the importance of keeping an emotion journal. I have noticed a lot of accomplished writers saying to do this, but I haven’t really had a lot of emotional moments in my short life, so I have never kept one. But with all this emotion, I started writing down my physical and mental state, so that I would have it when I needed to create a character that lost someone.
I think I will keep adding to this. It was very therapeutic for me to write in this journal. This blog entry has helped a lot too. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart onto the page.
Do you keep an emotional journal? What do you write in it?